Dish Network dropped the NFL Network Thursday night over a contract dispute, according to the league.
The league announced the move Thursday night, saying the satellite service pulled the NFL Network and the NFL Red Zone highlight channel off of its lineup. It’s the first time in the NFL Network’s 13-year history that it’s been dropped from a service provider, according to the league. The network is slated to carry 18 games during the upcoming season, 14 of them on Thursday nights. Eight games are on NFL Network exclusively: the league sold rights to five games each to CBS and NBC, and NFL Network will simulcast those contests.
In a statement, the NFL said: “As the only network 100% dedicated to coverage of America’s most popular sports league, NFL Network is committed to serving the millions of NFL fans by reaching fair distribution agreements with the pay TV industry.”
Dish in a statement said: "Our contract with NFL Network has expired. We remain open to a fair offer that allows us to carry this content at an appropriate value to our customers.”
The move follows this past Sunday's loss of Tribune Media stations and WGN America to Dish subscribers in another contract dispute. Dish claims that Tribune is trying to force an exorbitant rate increase coupled with full carriage of WGN America as terms for a deal, while Tribune argues that it is merely asking for fair compensation for its content.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.